AOC: Closet Capitalist

Wink, wink.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York may play the role of the young, clear-eyed socialist. The scourge of capitalists everywhere.

But when it comes to grabbing that cash with both hands and making a stash, she is as shrewd and conniving as the most unscrupulous oil baron.

The congresswoman caused a minor sensation this week with her appearance at the 2021 Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute Gala, an ultra-elite gathering famous for its aggressive displays of wealth.

Ocasio-Cortez attended the event wearing a designer dress bearing the slogan, “Tax the rich.” She also posed for photos holding a $995 handbag emblazoned with the same phrase. The dress and the handbag were provided by Brother Vellies founder Aurora James, a Canadian-born designer whom the congresswoman weirdly describes as a “black woman immigrant.”

James, by the way, is dating billionaire Seagram heir Benjamin Bronfman. But I digress.

“When Aurora and I were first kind of partnered, we really started having a conversation about what it means to be working-class women of color at the Met,” Ocasio-Cortez said during an interview on the red carpet. “And we said we can’t just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall and challenge some of the institutions.”

She added, “While the Met is known for its spectacle, we should have a conversation about it.”

Following the gala, which charges between $30,000 and $35,000 per ticket, the congresswoman faced criticism for being such a clearly willing participant in the unabashed celebration of wealth and celebrity, even despite her dress’s message. Ocasio-Cortez defended herself, claiming there’s no contradiction between her gala attendance and her espoused beliefs regarding taxation and wealth inequality. The Met, which receives federal funding, clarified it comped the congresswoman’s ticket.

This is where it gets good.

After the gala, the congresswoman’s office sent out a fundraising email, directing supporters to buy Ocasio-Cortez-branded T-shirts and hoodies bearing the same “Tax the rich” slogan she promoted at the Met. The T-shirts cost $27 apiece, while the hoodies cost $58.

You better believe James is likewise profiting from Ocasio-Cortez’s supposed attempt to “break the fourth wall” for “working-class women of color.”

Brother Vellies’s website now offers a “customized” version of the $995 handbag Ocasio-Cortez sported at the one percenter party. The product listing for the “Tax the rich” handbag includes the line, “As seen at the 2021 MET Gala.” The product listing also includes a photo of the congresswoman modeling the handbag at the gala.

Just so we’re all on the same page: Ocasio-Cortez, a supposed advocate for the working class, happily attended an exclusive party best known for its extravagant displays of wealth. She attended wearing a “Tax the rich” designer dress borrowed from the girlfriend of the billionaire Seagram heir. The congresswoman, whose admission was waived by the taxpayer-subsidized Met, also showed up to the event toting a customized $995 “Tax the rich” handbag, likewise provided by the Canadian-born designer.

Ocasio-Cortez’s office then responded to criticism of her presence at the gala by sending an email hawking her own “Tax the Rich”-branded merchandise. Now, Ocasio-Cortez’s designer friend is using the congresswoman’s appearance at the 2021 Met Gala, including a photo, to advertise $995 “Tax the rich”-branded handbags.

Everyone involved is getting rich. Well, everyone except for the working-class people Ocasio-Cortez claims to represent.

I’m not even mad. This is the grift in its purest form.

T. Becket AdamsT. Becket Adams
Senior commentary Washington Examiner. Former “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” contributor. Bylines in RealClearPolitics, Business Insider, And another thing Subscribe

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal

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